Deep Are the Roots
Memoirs of a Black Expatriate
In these pages we meet a man, meet him as a child, an actor in training, an actor in performance. We meet a black man born in the United States in 1918 who fashioned a life for himself that kept him mostly abroad, mostly in Paris. Gordon Heath can be counted among such distinguished black expatriates as Ira Aldridge, Paul Robeson, Richard Wright, and James Baldwin. Their names have been written larger than his in the record books, but with the publication of his memoirs Gordon Heath moves from footnote status to deserved inclusion in the text itself.
"Superb autobiography of a gay black actor. . . . Rich commentary on the thespian arts in the grandly informal words of Heath (1918-91), who played a legion of classical roles, became the first black announcer on American radio, played scores of whites on radio dramas . . . and apparently possessed a wit, if not genius, for marvelous speech--and who writes just as well. . . . He was also a skilled musician and singer and, in Paris, owned his own nightclub (where he did a guitar act) and directed his own theater. . . . Caviar."—Kirkus Reviews
"Heath's memoirs glow in the eloquence of his prose and in his detailed impressions of living as an expatriate in what was then the cultural capital of the world [Paris]."—Theatre History Studies
"A vivid historical record of this important African American gay theater artist. If you care about our cultural heritage, then you should read this lovely book immediately. . . . You will delight in this beautiful journey."—Lamda Book Report
"This strongly written memoir is a welcome addition to the literature of a sad chapter in American arts. . . . [Heath's] deeply etched memories re-create a world of black New York in the 1920s and 1930s that is clear and passionate. Heath's family, friends, influences, ideas, tastes, and an awareness of self are fully drawn."—Library Journal